When traditional disaster relief organizations fell short during Hurricane Harvey, the ingenuity of volunteers and private groups has compensated — saving lives and livelihoods, while accomplishing what bureaucratic red tape prevents — in some instances, that assistance has only been possible with cryptocurrency.
Indeed, that’s precisely the aim of the International Cherch of Blerk — the cryptocurrency-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit and, yes, formally recognized religion — whose employees rushed into the torrential rains and tempestuous conditions as Harvey descended upon Houston, Texas.
Cherch of Blerk Founder, Executive Director, and attorney, Jason Seibert, traveled into the Texas coast tempest with Blerk Medical Director Dr. Rhiana Ireland in a pickup truck loaded with necessities for disaster recovery, like fuel, a generator, and chainsaw. After sidestepping tornadoes and battling for visibility with the deluge from above, the pair arrived in Bay City in Matagorda County — an area experiencing some of the worst destruction and impacts from Harvey.
Throughout Galveston County, the pair assisted in the creation of multiple shelters for storm victims; and, as Coin Telegraph reports,
“Dr. Ireland was recognized nationally for her life saving efforts in JEMS (the Journal of Emergency Medicine). Seibert implemented infectious disease control protocols in food service and meal plans, ran a makeshift kitchen, and produced nearly 12,000 meals for four shelters. Blerk ran all the efforts, advising local officials on how to proceed and how to create new shelters. Blerk even ran medical supplies between shelters as the Red Cross was nowhere to be found.”
Anecdotally from social media to mainstream news reports, that complaint — the absence of official channels in areas badly in need of it — has pervaded the rescue and recovery efforts after Harvey, as well as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and multiple other catastrophic natural events. It was precisely this issue which drove Seibert to create the International Cherch of Blerk.
And then, without warning — amid the arduous task of hurricane relief, during a supplies run — the crypto-good-samaritan organization’s trucks died, leaving recovery efforts at a possible five-day standstill awaiting a simple wire transfer, due to snagged operations at local bank branches and their truncated hours after Harvey.
But — this, being the crypto-based disaster-assistance-focused religion, in its natural habitat — the Cherch of Blerk founder didn’t break a sweat, Coin Telegraph continues, and he “contacted Robert Gonzalez, founder of the over the counter (OTC) trading company UTXO, LLC. Gonzalez collaborated with Jesse Wilkinson, a well-known OTC trader in Dallas/Fort Worth area, for a solution. Jason liquidated personal crypto assets through Rob and Jesse, who are registered with FinCEN, and had cash in the dealer’s hand in less than four hours.
“Apparently, when banks fail, crypto wins. Blerk made peer-to-peer aid happen when traditional financial institutions failed.”
In short, the design worked as intended. Seibert explained, “This organization was formed at the beginning of August, but it has been in the planning phase for over a year. There are many people that want to do good, but they don’t want to be affiliated with traditional systems — they wanted something that fit them. People want to know that their charitable giving is going to those that need it — what we call Boots on the Ground giving. We don’t do anything without having eyes on the scene to determine the most impact we can make for the situation. For those that like that kind of thinking, BLERK fits them as a charity. If you wish to believe in our religion, Blockchain, great, if not — it doesn’t matter, those that receive the help don’t care if you believe or not.
“Blerk’s model, as an actual religion and registered 501c3 means that the activities of the organization, donations to it, and the eventual mining and currency activities, will all benefit the users of the network as a vehicle for doing good, but will also provide those incentives to give that traditional organizations like the Red Cross enjoy.”
Lagging just slightly behind Harvey is the beast known as Hurricane Irma — at one point, a Category 5 colossus, with record-crushing sustained winds of 185 mph for a period of 33 hours — now expected to slam into southernmost points in Florida, as a Category 4, sometime late Saturday, before slicing a swath of destruction straight through the center of the peninsula, according to many of the latest models.
Irma — of which one meteorologist gasped, “I am at a loss” — flattened multiple smaller islands throughout the Caribbean, from the Leeward Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, before steaming onward toward Cuba. With little time to adequately prepare for the onslaught of massive and rapidly-strengthening storm, the island of Barbuda now estimates a breathtaking 90 percent of dwellings have been left uninhabitable — with survivors recounting a veritable wasteland in Irma’s wake, with land barren of trees and even shrubbery, for as far as the eye could see.
Laden with debris and thriving on warm seas, Irma provoked one of the largest mandatory evacuation orders in history for low-lying, eastern and southern coastal regions from various seats of government in Florida.
Given today’s qualification from founding meteorologist of AccuWeather, Dr. Joel N. Myers, that it is inevitable the United States will experience another “catastrophic weather event,” and soberly described Hurricane Irma as the “worst single hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.”
Attempting to catalogue and fully quantify the impact of these and whatever other hurricanes the remainder of the season — just now reaching its peak — may have in store, would be a Herculean task in data, if not an impossible one in trauma. Having delegates safely on the ground to assess what supplies and resources are necessary, which aren’t, and how to best allocate both, not only eliminates the hierarchical delegation of authority from the State, but ensures the utmost efficacy in donated dollars to results.
“Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency adds a unique layer of flexibility, speed, and accountability that traditional FIAT systems [such as the U.S. petrodollar] just can’t provide,” Seibert explained. “With Crypto, we can put boots on the ground without having to ship anything but a human being and a cell phone. Once that point person is on the ground, they survey the scene, make a wish list, and crypto pours into their phone. Working with local exchangers, that crypto can be quickly converted to local FIAT for supplies, services, and goods to get things moving as quickly as possible without the need for lengthy customs checks at the docks, or paperwork that prevents action from happening in the disaster phase.”
The International Cherch of Blerk and other organizations have turned cryptocurrency into assistance and community cooperation based on the blockchain — the Cherch’s ‘deity’ — eliminating unnecessary obstacles where they would be detrimental or would hinder effective relief.
Cryptocurrency thus promises to be far more than just a casual alternative to nation-state fiat, but — in streamlining funds to resources and personnel — could revolutionize emergency preparedness, rescue assistance, disaster relief, and short- and long-term recovery. And that’s welcome news in the wake of Harvey — and in anticipation of Irma and the pair of Category 4 Hurricanes, Jose and Katia — for victims who couldn’t give a shit about following procedure when they’ve lost every, single thing in their lives.